Alex Hammond

7 min read

How to create personalized images for email marketing

Let's get the cliche out of the way right at the start. "An image paints a thousand words."

Wiki describes the power of an image well….complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description.

So why isn't everyone using personalized images in email campaigns? When attention spans are low, and the speed at which you can communicate your marketing message is paramount, you would think everyone would be using the power of images? Well, it isn't always straightforward, but read on, and we'll set out some options for you.

When using personalized images in an email campaign, what hurdles do you have to clear?

Creating the image
 Embedding the image into your campaign.

This blog focuses on the creation of the image itself. We'll cover the 'embedding images' part in a separate blog post. How the images are merged into your email campaign differs slightly depending on which ESP you use.

Canva Canva is brilliant. The people's Photoshop, as some call it. - ideal for creating marketing imagery, a DIY graphic design tool for business. Pick a background, add text, design as you see fit and export it as a jpeg (or similar), nice and straightforward. The problem being is that if you want to make it personalized, you'll need to book out some time. Each name in your database must be manually typed in, scaled appropriately, exported and dropped into the corresponding email. Hardly a reasonable way to progress if you have a mailing list more than 100 people long!

PRO - No coding required, maximum flexibility with design CON - A manual process

Nifty Images Nifty Images have a series of tools helping to create personalized email experiences. One of their products is a personalized image builder explicitly designed for email campaigns to deliver each recipient their unique image.

Chose your background image, fonts, colors and a personalized element to drop into the image based on the merge tags (Name, Email, Account, etc.) generated by your email client/ESP. Paste a code snippet into an HTML block in your email design and click send. Viola - personalized images to all your contact list.

PROs - Fast production, unlimited design possibilities. CON - Flat graphical personalization only. A broad portfolio of personalization tools, including the ability to superimpose images onto images and correctly map perspective (ish). Profile images, website screenshots, voice-overs and the familiar first name, last name and email are all elements that can be personalized with

They can provide personalization across multi-channel platforms meaning everything from the website, chatbot, text, images, and animations are all tailored to each customer.

PROs - A complete toolkit of personalization CONs - The personalization doesn't integrate with the context very well. It looks a bit 'stuck on.'

Their front page states: Personalize the journey from opt-in to outcome Send personalized images to your customers and prospects to increase engagement and sales.

They have an excellent drag-and-drop editor to enable endless design possibilities and can incorporate multi-channel marketing and the usual suspects of CRM/ESP Mailchimp, Klaviyo Zoho etc. They have a 'No code. No problem' - the tagline is reassuring as it does, at least initially look like a puzzle.

PROs - They have an 'unlimited sends' - pricing option and a compelling all-round package CONs - Using user-generated background images might end up looking a little home-spun. The new kid on the block of image personalization, Imagefactory's core software works differently from its competitors. It's USP being realism. The personalization is 'Photoshop' quality, delivering a… 'how did they do that moment.' Each personalization is baked within the image's pixels and generated in a 2D or 3D environment, giving unlimited scope for creative applications.

PRO - Stop-in-your-tracks image realism CONS - Not as fast or developed as the competition - but catching up fast…

Whichever platform you end up using, what is very clear is the speed at which this personalization industry is moving. Audiences are becoming increasingly bombarded with laser-focused marketing about us, our habits, tendencies and overall buying behaviour; brands must keep upping their game to get ahead of their competition.

Personalized images in email are not revolutionary, but the quality, realism and cost to implement this technology are all factors driving this industry forwards rapidly.

Make better images